The Issues Are In The Tissues – Substance Use Disorder Meets Yoga – Y12SR

It is difficult to encapsulate all that Nikki is and has accomplished in just a few paragraphs. Her life story, her struggles, her addictions, her relapses and her achievements could well cover hundreds of pages.

Niki Myers knows addiction.

She began using drugs and alcohol at the tender age of fourteen years. As a sexual abuse survivor, she turned to those substances with the belief that they would help her cope. Realizing the need for recovery she entered her first 12 step meeting in 1987.

She readily admits that it saved her life. And yet after 8 full years of recovery, she had her first relapse.
After that relapse, which she refers to as a “bout in Hell”, she began an intense yoga practice. Then four years later she relapsed again.

It was then that she discovered the marriage of yoga and healing from addiction.

Ms. Myers’ belief that combining the ancient wisdom of yoga and the very practical tools of the 12 step program could help those in recovery led her to start Yoga of 12 Step Recovery. Y12SR took off in 2003 and has experienced substantial growth. It has been unquestionably successful.

Numerous yoga instructors have repeated the statement that “the issues are in the tissues”. Every student of yoga has heard that phrase. The belief behind that saying is that all the trauma we have experienced remains stored within our physical bodies and needs the healing of release.

Taken a step further, it is Ms. Myers’ assertion that all addiction stems from past trauma and that yoga can help facilitate that release.

Y12SR was created to address the physical. mental and spiritual aspects of addiction. Ms. Myers is fond of using the term “connecting the dots” in describing Y12Sr’s effective combination of yoga and the cognitive applications of the 12 steps.

Nikki primarily believes that Y12SR is a relapse prevention program.

Their mission is “to empower individuals with practices that support recovery and enhance physical, mental and spiritual well-being.” They aim to create a sustainable platform for addiction recovery. The program is not intended to replace 12 step meetings but to act as an adjunct to meeting attendance.

Y12SR meetings begin like a typical 12 step meeting. The standard discussion that commences all meetings is then followed by an original yoga sequence. Breathwork, postural yoga, and meditation are all integrated into the format.

Yoga experience is not needed in order to attend a Y12SR meeting.
Nor is membership in any recovery program a prerequisite.
Anyone who is struggling with addiction is welcome.

There is often a suggested donation but nobody is ever turned away because of inability to pay. In that spirit, Y12SR has an Urban Outreach Project that raises funds to bring their program to underserved populations.

Y12SR meetings are conducted all throughout the United States. In addition, their curriculum has begun finding it’s way into addiction treatment centers. Nikki Myers intends for her program to be a catalyst of empowerment and support. To see if a meeting is available in your area click on this link.

Y12SR facilitators are called leaders and must undergo training in order to become certified to guide meetings. Training is offered through an intensive online webinar as well as weekend leadership workshops.

Leaders are taught to explore the sources of addictive behavior, discover how yogic principles build a strong foundation for recovery and learn how to use sustainable practices to support long-term recovery.

The impact of Y12SR has been nothing short of incredible. There are many testimonials to its effectiveness. Ms. Myers keeps up with the scientific research that supports this healing modality and includes these links on her website.

The healing power of yoga merges beautifully with the practicality and proven usefulness of the 12 steps. The word yoga itself broadly means “union”. Y12SR offers the union of the cognitive and the somatic.

It’s accessible to everyone who needs it whether they have yoga experience or not. It’s an incredible asset to any recovery toolkit.

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